USA – The recent trend for connected or smart homes has now been supplanted by the latest development – a connected community. These connected communities are now set to offer homeowners greater access and visibility to their home controls and security systems to provide greater safety, security and comfort. This new concept is aiming to tap into the middle ground between two exploding industries, smart homes and smart cities, which latest estimates expect to be worth somewhere between $4 trillion and $11 trillion per year by 2025.

This potentially game-changing development comes via Serene Homes, a real estate developer in Texas, who have recently introduced a concept that takes mobile technology and the connected home one step further with the “smart” community. Serene Homes, in conjunction with Honeywell and Premier Electronics, have installed home automation and security systems in each of its homes in its The Hills of Windridge development, a unique community of 1,200 smart homes in Ft. Worth. The pioneering system includes such features as a built-in Honeywell Tuxedo Touch home controller, an exterior IP camera, one Z-Wave door lock and thermostat, and two Z-Wave light switches. All of the devices are operated and controlled using Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services, which enables wireless control of the features from anywhere using an all-in-one mobile app. The system is designed to be as integral to the home as its foundations.

Every homeowner in the development will consequently be able to manage their home’s security, comfort and automation, receive notifications and look-in on their property through their live video cameras – from anywhere, at any time. Everything can be done automatically from distance, ranging from remotely disarming the security system and unlocking the front door to adjusting their home’s temperature settings. Although The Hills of Windridge is not a gated community, every home in the Serene Homes development has electronic security and video cameras, which should provide a strong deterrent to crime in the community and also help the police if a home is burgled.
The explosion in connected home systems is largely due to advances in smart-device design and wireless technology and also reliant, and predicated, upon our ongoing dependence and fascination with tablets and smartphones. Fast connections and beautiful interfaces are also hugely important in helping to support increasing amounts of complex data – such as video and images.
“Digital customization is dominating the market overall, and there’s nothing more personal than the home,” declared Steve Means, a district manager for Honeywell, which has won the contract to provide the wireless control system, thermostats and other products for the Serene Homes smart homes. “The security industry is joining the virtual one to cater to the customer’s agenda, keeping them informed, aware, and protected at all times.”
“Typically, implementing a home automation and security plan is in the homeowner’s hands, which can involve a lot of research, stress, and the cost of buying new equipment or software,” commented the vice president of sales at Serene Homes, Arek Meyer. “The Hills of Windridge will allow residents to effortlessly control home settings using their smartphones from day one.”
This project may only mark the beginning of the next connected wave – highlighting possibilities that reach far beyond the four corners of a single plot. This smart community is also expected to help overcome the obstacles of the crowded Texas real estate market and should provide next-generation value beyond the now-commonplace amenities like hardwood floors, energy efficiency and granite countertops.
Once considered to be a futuristic luxury, smart systems are becoming increasingly accessible to the general public, with nationwide customer trends pointing to connected home systems.
“The original incentive was to provide added worth and entice a wide group of consumers while staying within our budget,” said Meyer. “We needed a cost-effective way to future-proof the development.”
Each homeowner in the community will receive an educational training session to teach them all they need to know to make best use of their next-level home capabilities.
“This isn’t a gated community, but with the smart home technology installed in every home, you know it’s a protected one,” said Meyer.